Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that he will use a “strong hand” to quell violent Palestinian protests and deadly attacks, signaling that the current round of violence is bound to escalate at a time when a political solution to the conflict is increasingly distant.
Netanyahu said he has sent thousands more soldiers and police to the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and that “we are allowing our forces to take strong action against those who throw rocks and firebombs.” He said restrictions limiting what security forces can do were being lifted, but did not elaborate.
Netanyahu’s warnings came after a rash of violence that began Thursday when Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli couple in their car near a settlement in the West Bank as their four children watched. Two days later, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli man to death and seriously wounded his wife as they walked in Jerusalem’s Old City, then attacked and killed another Israeli man.
Israeli forces, meanwhile, killed two suspected Palestinian assailants over the weekend and on Monday shot dead two teenage stone-throwers, one of them a 13-year-old boy, in West Bank clashes.
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